Organizing the fleet of cruising multihull boats for participation in the races on Chesapeake Bay is one of the important functions of CMA. We typically participate in about a dozen races every season from May to September, and give out annual awards based on the season score.
Most of the races CMA participates in are point to point races. For example, on one Saturday, we day race from Annapolis to Miles River on the Eastern Shore, we can stay overnight there, and on Sunday, participate in the race back to Annapolis. There are also a few overnight "long" races such as Annapolis to Solomon's Island or the Governor's Cup from Annapolis to St Mary's. These do not have return races, and we can enjoy a relaxing trip back after a day-long party. For some races the course is posted at the start of the race; you need to know the positions of standard marks used for the CBYRA races (published in the CBYRA’s Greenbook).
One can consider these races as the opportunity for a friendly cruise together with fellow multihull sailors. In many cases, the host club allows us to raft up at the club after a race, use their facilities and enjoy social events for the evening. These are great opportunities to meet fellow multihull sailors as well as large numbers of monohull sailors. We typically have about half a dozen boats racing in the multihull class, and certainly it would be more fun to have a few more.
Because these are handicap races with relatively long legs, one usually does not have to worry about aggressive mark rounding maneuvers, or aggressive starting tactics. Getting good boat speed, paying attention to wind shift, locating good wind and current are more important than boat to boat racing tactics. On the other hand, because there are often over a hundred boats among different classes participating in a race, we also have chances to hone our skills in boat handling in a crowd, etc.
For many multihull sailors on the bay CMA races have been one of the best ways to learn and improve their general sailing skills, at the same time enjoying social opportunities to meet fellow sailors. If you have not had the chance to try racing on the bay, give it a try either as a skipper or as a crewmember. You may find racing on the Bay with fellow cruising multihull sailors an enjoyable way for expanding your sailing horizon.?
Basic Racing Rules
The Racing Rules of Sailing
ISAF Offshore Regulations